Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Service with a smirk

"Better services every day"

Yesterday morning I went to the bank to start my week off right - an encounter with the typical Czech attitude of “I’m in a position of imagined authority and I am going to make your life difficult.”

If I had instead been going to a bank in the US, the visit would have gone something like this:

Good morning, how are you today?

I am fine, thank you. And you?

I’m just fine. What can I do for you?

I’m having a problem with my card, it’s not working.

Okay, let me have your card… oh, it looks like it’s not active. I’ll just fix that for you.

Great, thanks.

Okay, your card is now active. Is there anything else you need today?

No, thanks, that’s everything. Thanks very much for your help.

All right, have a great day. Bye-bye.

But because I was instead in Prague, this is what actually happened:

Good morning.

Good morning.

How can I help you?

Well, my card is not working.

When is the last time you used it?

Actually, I have never used it. I tried to use it on Friday for the first time and it didn’t work.

Okay, I’ll need your card, your account number and some ID. Hmm, let me see…you haven’t activated the card. You have to call the number on the letter that came with the card…blah blah blah.

Oh, I am sure that I did call, but then I never used the card. It’s been about 8 months, maybe they have deactivated it.

No. You never activated it. You have to call the number on the letter.

I got the card at least 8 months ago, I no longer have the letter.

Well, you never activated the card.

Then suddenly - I can activate it for you now.

Fine, great, yes, please.

Do you have your passport? You have only given me a driver’s licence.

No, I don’t have my passport with me. (Statement accompanied by a look that meant, ‘I’m American, don’t fuck with me anymore, I might have a gun.’)

So she finally activated my card, which is excellent service in this country. For a few minutes there, I had thought she was going to tell me that I had to go home and find the damn letter. But you will notice that first she had to put on airs of authority and make sure I realised that I had done everything wrong and it was all my fault anyway and I should therefore be forever grateful that she saw fit to help me.

Needless to say, I do most of my banking on the internet or at a bankomat (ATM).


Anonymous said...

U-S-A, U-S-A!

I guess when your economy runs on credit you have to be friendly to the people who are charging.

Monkey's Max said...

Well said, SS.

I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea, by the way, I am actually pretty happy with my bank. I have to be, considering that over the past 14 years I have opened and closed accounts at several of the indigenous Czech banks because they have all pissed me off at one time or another.

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